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Bollingen Series, #94: The Freud/Jung Letters: The Correspondence Between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jungby Sigmund Freud
Synopses & Reviews
In April 1906, Sigmund Freud wrote a brief note to C. G. Jung, initiating a correspondence that was to record the rise and fall of the close relationship between the founder of psychoanalysis and his chosen heir. This correspondence is now available for the first time, complete except for a few missing letters apparently lost long ago.
The letters, some 360 in number, span seven years and range in length from a postcard to a virtual essay of 1,500 words. In accordance with an agreement between the writers' sons, Ernst Freud and Franz Jung, the letters are published as documents, without interpretation, but with a detailed annotation that identifies more than 400 persons, 500 publications, and many literary and topical allusions.
Anna Freud comments, "[The annotation] has turned the correspondence truly into a history of the beginnings of psychoanalysis, something that was very much needed and is not given anywhere else with the same attention to detail and inclusion of all the people in public life who cither came to psychoanalysis for a while or turned violently against it from the beginning. . . . Every detail is necessary and enhances the value of the book."
There are appendixes, facsimiles, and contemporary photographs. The index, with bibliographical details, is exhaustive.
As historical documents, the letters reflect the early struggles of Freud and Jung in gaining acceptance for psychoanalysis. Freud, Jung's senior by twenty years, patiently assesses the opposition, cautioning the fiery Jung to concentrate more on his research than on answering the critics. The two exchange candid opinions on their colleagues, plan strategies for the advancement of their cause, and most important, share their experiences with patients and with the reading that led them to new scientific realizations.
The correspondence provides an account of the composition of many papers, lectures, and books of Freud, Jung, and their colleagues, and describes the genesis of the journals, conferences, and international and local societies of the movement.
The decline of the correspondence documents Jung's increasing reluctance to accept the entire Freudian code, and the growing bitterness that led to the mutual decision to end the correspondence and the relationship.
This abridged edition makes the Freud/Jung correspondence accessible to a general readership at a time of renewed critical and historical reevaluation of the documentary roots of modern psychoanalysis. This edition reproduces William McGuire's definitive introduction, but does not contain the critical apparatus of the original edition.
"I am confident that you will often be in a position to back me up, but I shall also gladly accept correction." So wrote Freud in his first letter to Jung in 1906. Over the next eight years the tenor and tone of their correspondence changed dramatically, reflecting the growing differences in their approach to the theory and practice of psychology and psychoanalysis. Their disagreements, captured here, led to the dissolution of their relationship as mentor and student. Jung's break with Freud is one of the most famous stories in the early history of psychoanalytic thought. As late as 1959 Jung was moved to refer to the letters as "that accursed correspondence."
The eventual publication of the Freud/Jung letters was a testament to the diplomacy and persistence of William McGuire, executive editor for Bollingen Series. He managed to secure the agreement of both the Freud and the Jung trustees in the face of what seemed insurmountable difficulties. The book generated a frenzy of media interest by providing unparalleled insights into the love/hate relationship between two of the century's most influential intellectual protagonists. As Lionel Trilling wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "Both as it bears upon the personal lives of the men between whom the letters passed and upon the intellectual history of our epoch, it is a document of inestimable importance."
'The substance of intellectual history at a turning point is in these letters. The impression is of two immensely ambitious, self-willed, often inspired men, who had set themselves apart as innovators, roped together in a long climb into a new world.' -The Observer
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